From ANIMAL PEOPLE, May 1995:

Academy Award-winning actress
Whoopi Goldberg has agreed to appear in a
Friends of Animals ad campaign publicizing
horse slaughter. In 1994 U.S. slaughterhouses
killed 348,000 horses; another 28,612 U.S.-
born horses were killed in Canada. Most were
young “surplus” from speculative breeding.
A South African Airways flight
from London to Johannesburg with more
than 300 people and 72 prize breeding pigs
aboard returned to England for an emergency
landing on April 6 when, as a spokesperson
put it, “The collective heat and methane that
the pigs gave off in the cargo hold caused the
alarms to activate.” Fifteen pigs suffocated
when automatic fire extinguishers filled the
hold with halon gas.

The Natural Resources Defense
Council estimates that below-market-value
federal grazing fees amount to a subsidy for
ranchers of $134 million in 1995. The
Progressive Policy Institute says that estimate
is $50 million too low. Actual cash subsidies
to U.S. farmers have averaged $14.9 million a
year over the past decade. “This is the taxpay-
er’s bill for razing an ecosystem,” charges
Richard Manning, author of the forthcoming
book G r a s s l a n d. “American agriculture now
supports 45.5 million cattle in the plains states.
Estimates of the pre-settlement population of
bison in the area range from 30 million to 70
million. A bison produces about the same
amount of meat as a cow. Where is the
progress? In net terms, unassisted nature out-
produced human artifice. Efficiency, fiscal
responsiblity, and conservation all make the
same demand,” namely to cease subsidizing
the livestock industry.
Mexican cattle exports to the U.S.
have more than tripled since the December
20 devaluation of the peso, which made U.S.
dollars worth far more to Mexican ranchers
while increasing the cost of grain imports into
Mexico by 40%. The devaluation came just
after the USDA repealed mandatory facebrand-
ing of Mexican steers, due to a year-long cam-
paign led by Henry Spira of the Coalition for
Non-Violent Food––who was alerted to the
imposition of the facebranding requirement by
ANIMAL PEOPLE in November 1993.
The USDA Agricultural Research
Service and Purdue University are jointly
forming a $500,000 Center for Research on
Well-Being in Food Animals. Says Purdue
Department of Animal Sciences head Bud
Harmon, “I wouldn’t spend a dime on
research in defense of the way we do things
now, because it doesn’t move anything for-
ward. Striking a balance between efficient ani-
mal production and animal well-being will
help many people.”
The Mongolian Bactrian camel
population is again up, the Ulan Bator news-
paper Ardinin Erkh reports. Only 48,000
camels were slaughtered in 1993 and 1994
combined, after 177,000 were killed in 1991
and 1992 as members of dissolving farm col-
lectives sold camels for quick cash. The
Mongolian camel population is now circa
366,100, down from 537,500 in 1990.
A free trade zone around the port
of Aqaba, Jordan, has allowed Australian
sheep exporters to set up feed lots from which
sheep are re-exported throughout the Middle
East. They sold 5.1 million sheep to the
Middle East in 1993, and 5.6 million in 1994,
worth $105 million. The traffic will soon
increase, as on March 21 Australia announced
the resumption of live sheep exports to Saudi
Arabia, suspended in November 1990 after
Saudi officials intercepted a shipload of sheep
they judged unfit. In 1990, Australian sheep
sales to Saudi Arabia totaled $109 million.
Following the lead of entrepre-
neurs in Louisiana and Texas, Connecticut
ostrich rancher Glenn Bergmiller plans to open
a ratite slaughterhouse in Addison, Vermont,
this summer, with backing from the Vermont
Department of Agriculture and Central
Vermont Public Service Economic
Development. Bergmiller hopes to kill 35
ostriches and/or emus per day.
Representative Andy Jacobs (D-
Indiana) has reintroduced the Humane
Methods of Poultry Slaughter Act, designat-
ed HR-264. The bill would mandate stunning
before slaughter. Introduced twice before
without getting out of committee, the bill isn’t
expected to get far in the current Congress
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